HC Deb 08 February 1944 vol 396 cc1601-2
5 and 6. Sir Geoffrey Shakespeare

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) what are the number of pensions granted and administered by the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in respect of disabilities attributable to the Boer War; and what is the annual sum involved;

(2) whether he will secure for the Boer War pensioners, whose pensions are administered by the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the benefits secured by Parliament and operated through the Ministry of Pensions for pensioners of the Great War, 1914–18, and of this war?

The Secretary of State for War (Sir James Grigg)

The bulk of Boer War disability pensions are administered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions. The few administered by the Royal Hospital, Chelsea—I regret I cannot state without undue labour the exact number or present cost—are in respect of belated claims with which I understand my right hon. Friend is unable to deal. The awards by the Royal Hospital are made under the Boer War regulations with, in most cases, an increase of 70 per cent. over Boer War rates. I am considering whether the basis of award can be revised.

Sir G. Shakespeare

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that the Boer War pensioner has his disability pension reduced when he gets light work?

Sir J. Grigg

As I have promised to consider the basis of awards generally, I am naturally, quite willing to take into account any factor brought to my notice bearing on the question.

Mr. Shinwell

Will my right hon. Friend appreciate that it would afford considerable satisfaction to hon. Members, and many people outside, if he considered the propriety of reviewing these pensions in order to bring them up to a higher level?

Sir J. Grigg

That is precisely what I have undertaken to do here.

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Is it not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to give a figure of the total amount spent in a year on these pensions, and, in view of that amount, is it not possible to increase the pensions further?

Sir J. Grigg

Having promised to consider the whole basis of these awards, I do not see what more I can do at the moment.